Michael Franken

Distinguished Fellow

Michael Franken is on temporary leave from his role at the Stimson Center. 

Vice Admiral Michael Franken, USN (ret), is a distinguished fellow with the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center. Raised in rural Iowa, Franken lived within view of the world’s oceans during much of his thirty-six-year military career. As such, he developed a life-long appreciation for ocean ecology, maritime commerce, and international security affairs. He commanded a ship, a squadron of ships, a group of international navies’ ships and submarines, a combined task force ashore in Djibouti, Africa, and he was the director of a defense agency. He served in multiple congressional and legislative affairs positions in Washington, DC, and in numerous strategy, operations, and policy-making positions for the Indo-Pac Theater, the Middle East, and Africa. He is experienced in worldwide joint operations, global maritime affairs, and building partnership capacity with other nations and institutions. He presented the worldwide orders book to the Secretary of Defense and was the first military officer to serve as a military legislative fellow for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Franken was U.S. Africa Command’s Deputy Commander for the 6500 personnel on the continent of Africa in his last military post. Franken has a technical education from the College of Engineering at University of Nebraska and the College of Physics at the Naval Postgraduate School, foreign affairs and government experience beginning with the Brookings Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI, and professional development courses in business and ethics from Babson College and the Darden School. He is President of Chartwell Strategic Advisors, LLC, specializing in finding 3-D solutions in Development, Diplomacy, and Defense worldwide.